Ralph de Eure

In Bishop Hatfield’s Survey of 1381 Ralph de Eure was listed as the only free tenant in Escomb. He held about 50 acres of land there plus 4 other parcels of land in the chapelry and  lived in Witton Castle, which he fortified in 1410.  Bishop John Fordham later granted to Sir Ralph an area called Westland at Escomb and 89 acres of forest there. He also held land across the county, especially in South Durham and in Weardale. Half of his landed wealth was said to be in Durham and he held other land in North Yorkshire. He was also Lord of Stokesley. In 1409 he leased 5 mines in areas of South Durham for the princely sum of £112 – 13s – 4d.

He was a younger son of Sir John de Eure and Isabella Clifford. He married twice (Isabel and Katherine) and had nine children.

He held a variety of positions including Palatine Steward for Durham under Bishops Walter Skirlaw and Langley; MP for Northumberland in 1380 and 1381; Sheriff of Northumberland 1389-97; Constable of York 1392, 1396; MP for Yorkshire 1393, 1397 and 1399.

He helped put down Archbishop Scrope’s rebellion under Henry IV

The family has been traced back to John Fitz Robert (d.1240) whose eldest son took the name de Baliol and the younger sons took the surname Eure after their father’s manor in Buckinghamshire.

The family motto was Vince malum bono and the coat of arms included 3 scallop shells and was found on a screen in a church in Darlington (1381-1407). Sir Ralph was a landowner in the parish at this time.

Descendents of the family held key positions in the region; eg. In 18th – 19th year of Henry VII (1503-4) Rodolphus Eure was sheriff of Northumberland as was Willielmus Eure in 1527-8. The family was enobled by Henry VIII. Another of Sir Ralph’s descendents, William Eure, was colonel in the army of Charles I during the Civil War and was killed at the battle of Marston Moor in 1645.

The family continued until 1674, when the line died out as there were no male heirs.

Sources

The History and Antiquities of the County Palatinate of Durham Vol 1 and 2  – W. Fordyce (1820)

14th Century England  Vol 4– J.S. Hamilton

 

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